This vegan pumpkin cheesecake recipe features a rich and creamy cheesecake filling, a deliciously spiced and crunchy graham cracker crust, and is topped with a tasty vegan caramel sauce. Make this easy pumpkin cheesecake dessert for the holidays or any time of year!
This creamy, rich vegan pumpkin pie cheesecake is a perfect addition to your holiday dessert table. It is a dairy-free, egg-free and flavorful addition to your holiday celebrating!Do you ever have a recipe so delicious that you hesitate to share it? That’s how I feel about this recipe. This pumpkin cheesecake is so yummy that my husband requests it as his “Birthday Cake.”
The thing about a vegan cheesecake is that it still has the rich flavors, but without that heavy feeling you often get after eating a cow milk-based cheesecake. I have served this to many non-vegan friends and they all agree that it tastes great. Vegan cheesecake has less overall calories, fat, and cholesterol than a cow milk-based cheesecake, so even if you’re not vegan, it might be worth giving it a try.
Why we Call it Cheesecake
But you know me. Before the recipe, first a little about the name. Believe it or not, according to About.com, cheesecake was served during the first Olympic Games in 776 BC in Greece. In fact, according to Alan Davidson, author of the book, Oxford Companion to Food, “cheesecake was mentioned in Marcus Porcius Cato’s De re Rustica around 200 BCE and that Cato described making his cheese libum (cake) with results very similar to modern cheesecake.”
What do you know? Cheesecake must really be the food of the gods! Now we’ve taken this divine and timeless dessert and made it even better! Why? Because now it’s a dairy free pumpkin cheesecake!
How to Make Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
When making vegan pumpkin cheesecake recipes, it’s best to begin with the crust.
Step One: Make the Graham Cracker Crust
In confess that I like a nice thick crust. I just like enough crust to sink my fork into it. Ah, it’s so good! So, to make this tasty graham cracker crust, I recommend using a 9-inch springform pan. Go ahead and lock the sides and grease the pan.
Next you’ll want to stir together the graham cracker crumbs, chopped pecans, sugars, and vegan butter in a bowl until combined. I like to grab a handful and press it between my fingers. It should hold its shape when you do that. If not, add just a bit more vegan butter and pulse again.
Note: To make a vegan gluten free pumpkin cheesecake, use gluten free graham crackers.
Once the crumb mixture is ready, press it evenly across the bottom and about 1/2 inch up on the sides of pan. Place the pan in the fridge and chill the crust for one hour.
Note: It can be challenging finding vegan graham crackers. Here’s my accidentally vegan guide for some recommendations. Also, you can substitute gingersnap cookies (look through the ingredients to make sure they’re vegan).
Step Two: Make the Cheesecake Filling
First of all, make sure the oven rack is in the middle position. Then preheat the oven to 350°F.
Using the same food processor bowl (you don’t even have to clean it out), add the pumpkin, sugars, vegan creamer (or fat from a can of coconut milk), vanilla, liqueur (if using), cornstarch, and spices. Pulse several times until combined.
Next, add the vegan cream cheese and pulse again until cream cheese is broken down and creamy. Be sure to use a spatula to push down ingredients from the side of the food processor.
Pour the pumpkin filling into the chilled crust, using a spatula to smooth out the top.
Step Three: Bake in a Waterbath
If the idea of baking your cheesecake in a waterbacth sends nervous chills down your spine, I’m here to let you know, it’s really not all that bad. Simple wrap the bottom of the springform pan in foil (to prevent any water from getting into the cheesecake) and then place the pan in another baking pan (like a roasting pan) and add water. I usually add about two cups.
Then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks…it usually does). I like to place it in the oven and then pour 1 – 2 cups of water in the roasting pan. This adds moisture to the oven as the cheesecake bakes and should prevent any cracks forming in the top of the cheesecake.
That’s it! That’s all there is to a water bath.
Bake the cheesecake, until center is just set, 55 to 60 minutes. The center may be a little jiggly, and that’s ok. It will firm up as it cools. But, for now, simply turn the heat off in the oven and allow the cheesecake to sit as the oven cools for another hour.
Then remove it from the oven and let it sit at room temperature for another 30 minutes or so. Then cover and refrigerate the cheesecake for 2 – 3 hours or even overnight. Yes, this is another great make-ahead recipe!
How To Serve Pumpkin Cheesecake
After the eggless pumpkin cheesecake has chilled in the fridge, it will firm up, resulting in a nice, creamy cheesecake filling.
Vegans today have many options to substitute dairy products. One of my favorite vegan substitutions for cream cheese is Tofutti’s Better than Cream Cheese. You can find this in the health food stores and more frequently of late even in the health food sections of grocery stores. I have tried other brands and I haven’t found any of them to match the taste and consistency of Tofutti. With that said, here’s my recipe for vegan pumpkin cheesecake. Enjoy!
I hope you love this recipe as we do! Have you tried it? Be sure and leave a comment and a rating of this recipe below and then take a quick photo and share it with me using #namelymarly on Instagram. I love seeing your creations!
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
For the graham cracker crust
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- ½ cup pecans , finely chopped
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup vegan butter , melted and cooled
For the pumpkin cheesecake filling
- 1 ½ cups canned solid-pack pumpkin 1 can
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegan soy creamer (or fat from a can of coconut milk)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur optional (I use rum)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 8 oz packages vegan cream cheese at room temperature (see note)
- vegan caramel sauce optional
For the graham cracker crust:
- Use a 9-inch springform pan, lock sides and grease pan.
- Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and vegan butter in a bowl until combined. Press crumb mixture between your finers. It should hold it's shape. If not, add a bit more vegan butter. When ready, press the mixture evenly across the bottom and up about an inch on the sides of pan. Chill crust, 1 hour.
For the Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
- Put oven rack in middle position. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In the same food processor bowl (no need to even wash it), add the pumpkin, sugars, vegan creamer, vanilla, liqueur (if using), cornstarch, spices and salt. Pulse in quick bursts until the ingredients are combined. Add vegan cream cheese and pulse again until creamy and smooth. Be sure to use a spatula to push down any ingredients along the sides of the food processor bowl.
- Pour filling into chilled crust, smoothing the top with a spatula. Then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks…it usually does). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)
- For the waterbath, wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan with foil. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Place the roasting pan in the oven and pour about 2 cups of water into the roasting pan. Close the oven door and bake the cheesecake for 55 – 60 minutes. The center of the cheesecake should be slightly jiggly. Turn the heat off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour.
- Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours. Then cover and refrigerate 3 – 4 hours (or overnight).
- To serve, remove sides of pan and bring to room temperature. Serve with vegan caramel sauce and vegan whipped cream.
- Baked cheesecake can be chilled, covered, up to 5 days (if it lasts that long!) in the fridge. It can also be frozen. I prefer to cut it into individual slices. These will keep in the freezer up to 2 months.
The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.